Fountain pens and inks blanket box
What is a blanket box?
A blanket box is a collection of questions and prompts for you to use how you want. The intention is to help you create content for your fort, as well as to connect and share with your followers. Specifically, the blanket box format involves using this template to make a new post of your own, rather than replying in the comment section here.
The theme of this blanket box is fountain pens and inks. You can find more blanket boxes, with a wide variety of themes, in the BlanketBoxBox community.
maiji@pillowfort created a “Fountain pens blanket box”: https://www.pillowfort.social/posts/2943077
Tell us how you got into fountain pens/inks.
Around 2018. Because ballpoint/rollerball pens kept drying on me after about three weeks of use. When that had happened three or four times in a row, I started looking around. I originally searched for gel pens because I had had one that I loved, but for some reason none of the shops near me, even the big department stores had any gel pens at the time 🙁 And googling good pens kept leading me to fountain pens, and fountain pen inks, and I eventually ordered one to try it out. I’d never seen a fountain pen in real life much less used one, so it was weird and exciting – I didn’t know they were still a thing elsewhere!
What’s your collection like? How do you organize your collection or information related to your collection?
Most of my fountain pens cost about 35 euros (TWSBI Ecos, PenBBS), I also have a handful that cost 5-25 euros (Jinhaos, TWSBI Swipe and Lamy Al-Star) and three that cost up to 69 euros (TWSBI 580, Nahvalur Key West – Las Curidas – the violet one CultPens sells – and the TWSBI Eco Smoke & Rose Gold). I don’t really want any of the truly expensive pens, although I wouldn’t say to to Sailor Spring Rain (what gorgeous colors!). I prefer European nib sizes M-1,1 stub, so although the PenBBS pens are so pretty and write so well, I don’t use them a lot. I did buy them the RM nibs from PenBBS but even those aree too fine for my taste. I didn’t know this about myself when I started, and everywhere fine nibs were recommended. Also, my handwriting is rather bigger than a lot of other people’s seem to be, looking at their pictures, so my writing just looks better with larger nib sizes.
Currently I’m pretty satisfied with my collection. There are one or two pens I’m considering buying maybe later this year, maybe. These are all Hongdians on Etsy/Aliexpress and one Wancher that been out-of-stock for at least three months so I’m not sure if it’ll restock or not. But I’ve been feeling happy with my collection for about six months now as far as pens go.
The only pen I’m disappointed with is the TWSBI 580 ALR Punch Pink. I just don’t like it – the piston is difficult to use, the M nib writes like an F (I think – too narrow, anyway!) and I don’t even like it when I switch the 1.5 stub nib on. I’ve tried it with several of my most favorite inks and… nope. I just don’t like it. The pen is a pretty color and the nib is easy to switch but those two are about the only things I like about it.
Uninked pens I keep in a pen cup at my desk. The inked pens are in the small container on the sofa table because I usually write at my sofa and this keeps them within easy reach.
The only list of my pens is in my head, it suffices thus far. I do keep an ink record – which ink is put in which pen on what date. I sometimes have 7-8 pens inked and I found out quickly it’s impossible to remember which pen has which ink and when it was filled the last time.
You’re given a fountain pen to test out. What would you typically write or doodle? Show us!
My name, Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow and various wavy lines and squicklies. Maybe some lyrics or a my favorite poem, or some aforisms to see how it’ll write longer pieces.
Your first pen
My first pen was an PIlot Metropolitan Retro Pop Turquoise (the European version). I didn’t love it and never really used it. It was a fine nib (because all the guides said to go for fine nib for every day writing) but for me it was too fine – I didn’t like the width of the line it did, but I thought it wrote really well and smoothly. It was just too fine for me, and it also never felt comfortable in my hand, like it was too small. So I noticed after about 6 months that it sat at the bottom of my drawer. Disappointed I didn’t think about fountain pens much for the next year or so, and went back to frustrating ballpoints. But was I was still really curious fountain pens and still had same the original problem which had led me to look at fountain pens. So I decided to try a Lamy Al-Star which was the other pen experienced users recommend to new users. So I got one and I loved it! I went with a medium nib and that was so much better, and European medium’s now my favorite nib.
About two years or a year and a half ago I gave the Pilot Metropolitan to my Mom, who’d never used a fountain pen with a converter/cartridge capability, only a dip one apparently when she was a kid in the 1940s/50s. She likes it and the fine nib is suitable for her handwriting which is much smaller and finer than my own. I’m glad that the pen didn’t go to waste!
Your newest pen
TWSBI Eco Persian Green with 1.1 stub nib (I also got an extra M nib for it at the same time so I can switch nibs as desired). I now have 5 TWSBI Ecos – I just love how they write, and love the colors. I got them mostly in M nibs but also two B nibs, and now that new 1.1 stub. I’m going to get an F nib at some point too, just to see if I’ll like it any better than the other (Chinese) F nibs.
A pen you’re currently using
I’ve got about half of my pens inked, if not more. Five TWSBI Ecos, one Jinhao x450, one Nahvalur and one WSBI 580 and one TWSBI Swipe. M nibs, two B nibs and one 1.1 stub. These are the pens I’m currently using:
Your “essential” pen (e.g., everyday carry/EDC, favourite pen, etc.)
The TWSBI Ecos! They never dry up even if I haven’t touched them in a couple of months. Ever since COVID-19 started I haven’t had to carry pens often (I have one or two gel pens in the top pocket of my backpack for incidental needs but that’s all) because all the activities I was required to participate in either by healthcare or the unemployment office shut-down and then I was on sick leave for a year so I didn’t need to. But the next time I’ll need to do writing out and about in any sort of regular fashion, I’m taking one or two TWSBI and a Jinhao 82 because that ones M nib is finer than European one so it should work better on random papers. And if the TWSBI Swipe is as good as i’m expecting, that too!
Your “fanciest” pen
I think of my Nahvalur Key West Las Coloradas fountain pen as my fanciest – it’s so very pretty too! Luckily, it also writes like a dream 😀
What tends to catch your interest when it comes to pens? e.g., drawn to particular colours, features, types or sizes of nibs, brands, etc.
Colors and patterns! I love pretty colors and colorful, patterned resins. My PenBBS pens are the most prettiest along with the Nahvalur Key West Las Colaradas. I love the Las Colaradas’ violet color and the sparkles the resin body has.
I love many of the Sailor pen color combinations, but the cheaper ones don’t come with nibs sizes I like (and honestly, they also don’t look as great) and that ones that do, are like 350USD which I can’t even dream of buying (like the Spring Rain), and even if I could afford it no problem, I’m not at all sure I could justify paying that much for a pen!
I also admire the artists who decorate the Maki-e pens – such artwork on such a tiny, round canvas! I love looking at them, so skillfully painted. But they are more art than functional tool, and certainly prices say so (1000+ USD). Wancher does have one line of Maki-e fountain pens that are only 79 euros so I don’t think those are hand painted or something, but they’re very pretty but have been out-of-stock in the only EU fountain pen store I’ve seen them at.
I’m also always curious to see what new pens or colors the brands are coming out with. The selection of nib sizes is important to me – it’s it available only in EF or F, I won’t consider buying them no matter how pretty they are.
These are the rest of my pens:
An ink you’re currently using
As I said, I have several pens inked at all times. Currently I’m using Pilot Iroshizuku “Kosumosu” and “Yama-Budo”, Sailor “Yamadori”, Sailor Ink Studio “224” and “731”, Diamine “Cerise” and Organics Studio “Copper Turquoise”.
An ink you love
Of the above ones: Kosumosu, Yamadori, Copper Turquoise + J. Herbin “Violet Pensee” and “Rouge Grenat”, Pilot Iroshizuku “Murasaki-Shikibu” and “Kon-Peki”, Diamine “Spearmint Diva” and KWZ “Cherry”. There are others but these came first to my mind.
An ink name that stands out to you
All the Japanese ones in the Pilot Iroshizuku and Sailor lines, and J. Herbin’s French ones!
What tends to catch your interest when it comes to inks? e.g., drawn to particular colours, features/characteristics, brands, etc.
Color – I’m partial to reds, violets, interesting blues. Not dark colors but more like pink or light violet, but not light enough to be pastel. I love shading, and appreciate sheen. But maybe in a way one is that ink should flow well! I don’t think I’ve like any ink that reviews say is particularly dry. So I’d say I like lubricated inks.
hare a fountain pen/ink related tidbit. (Examples: a show or local shop that you love; something you made with fountain pens/inks; a personal memory or story related to pens/inks.)
All my writings are personal (such as diary of my illness symptoms or random fanfic tidbits) that I’m not comfortable sharing. But I can tell this: I learned to bind pamphlets because I needed notebooks with Tomoe River paper, and could only get loose leaf TR paper for a bit during COVID-19 restrictions. I love making them but I don’t use them up fast enough to be able to make them as often as I’d love to! Pics of two I’ve made:
My great sorrow is that we don’t have fountain pen shops in Finland. Some physical bookstores may or may not have some very limited selection of fountain pens, but it’s usually like only Montblanc or only Lamy or only Kaweco and not all models/colors of those either. Some online stationary stores maybe have Kaweco fountain pens, if any, and a few online/physical art stores have small selection of mostly Diamine inks. I’ve only ever bought two Diamine inks here in Finland, when a local physical art store had them for a short while. So I order from UK (before Brexit always, since only twice) and EU online fountain pen stores such as https://fountainfeder.de and https://www.stiloestile.com/en/ Fountainfeder does ink samples so that’s great and makes me happy 😀
I LOVE ink samples! I was so sad when online stores removed ink samples from the offerings post-Brexit and during COVID-19 even though I understand the reasons why. I’ve avoided buying so many inks that I didn’t like when I tried them by being able to get samples of them first to try instead of a full bottle.